Dr. Puzanov on Management of Adverse Events in Melanoma

Igor Puzanov, MD

Igor Puzanov, MD, director, Early Phase Clinical Trials Program, chief of Melanoma, co-leader, CCSG Experimental Therapeutics Program, professor of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, discusses ways to manage patients with melanoma who may experience adverse events (AEs) in response to treatment with immunotherapy.

According to Puzanov, it can very difficult to predict which patients will experience AEs in response to certain therapies. Thus, 1 of his goals is to develop a marker that can identify patients who are at a higher risk for experiencing a particular AE in response to a particular treatment.

Puzanov explains that he is keen to tell his patients about past cases involving AEs in response to immunotherapy combinations, so that they can be on the lookout for early signs of toxicity. Additionally, he says he often brings patients into his office weekly, at least when patients first begin treatment, to check and and see if he can detect any signs of toxicity.

When patients do experience AEs in response to immunotherapy, Puzanov says he is encouraged by the fact that treating them with steroids does not have any effect on their responses or progression-free survival rates. Thus, he can treat his patients with what they need without harming them further or lowering their chances of being cured.
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